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Grant for streets sought

Staff writer

Marion plans to ask the Kansas Department of Transportation to pay for most of a $232,700 project to make long-needed improvements at Elm and Locust Sts.

Marion City Council voted 4-0 Monday to put up a local match of 30% of the $232,700 project. If approved, KDOT would pay $162,890, and the city would pay $69,810, as much as half of that from in-kind services instead of cash. Marion also might have to pay some planning expenses.

Darin Neufeld of EBH & Associates engineering said the project would replace curb from Lawrence to Main, fix a culvert under Elm and repair a box bridge on Locust.

“The box itself is fine, but five or six feet is hanging out in the air,” he said. “The box culvert is what’s hopping up the street and that concrete retaining wall.”

The retaining wall has had large gaps and cracks for more than a decade. Water pools at a low point, and “if we get any more rains,” the city would have to talk about closing down the west side, he said.

The project is in the city’s recently adopted capital improvement plan but was not listed as a priority. The city’s match could come from bonding, Neufeld said.

Neufeld recommended that the city put up a 25% match. It has applied before with a 20% proposed match and didn’t receive KDOT funding. It then applied under the same program for money to create streets in Batt Industrial Park. That grant request also was rejected.

If the city doesn’t get KDOT funding, it could apply again next spring or pay for the project with a bond.

“Part of something is better than all of nothing,” city administrator Mark Skiles said, advocating for a higher match. “I don’t want to be penny-wise and pound foolish.

“We’re better off spending a little more to get their free dollars.”

Neufeld said a 30% match should put the city in a good position.

Mayor David Mayfield made a motion to approve a 30% match. Jerry Kline seconded. Council member Ruth Herbel was not at the meeting. She is recovering from surgery.

Last modified Aug. 24, 2022

 

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